Cruise Ship Guests Spot Fishermen Stranded in the Sea

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Guests sailing aboard a Costa Cruises’ ship in the Arabian Sea are credited with helping to rescue five fishermen stranded in the sea near the vessel’s location. The incident, which happened on Christmas Day, December 25, 2023, took place between Mumbai and Kochi, India.

Shipwreck Victims Spotted From a Balcony

The view from a ship’s balcony usually provides a calming ocean scene, perhaps with a pretty coastline in the distance or some seabirds soaring nearby, but on Christmas Day 2023, guests aboard Costa Cruises’ Costa Serena spotted something unusual: A group of people stranded in the water wearing life vests.

The guests immediately alerted crew members, and the ship’s Captain, Andrea Bardi, altered the ship’s route in the direction of the stranded group. It was roughly one mile from the ship’s location where five fishermen were located bobbing in the water, the victims of an apparent shipwreck off India’s southwest coast.

Costa Serena’s crew assisted the fishermen aboard the ship, while officials contacted the Indian Coast Guard, which arrived on the scene a few hours later. The rescued men were transferred to a coast guard ship and ultimately brought to a hospital in Mumbai. All were reported to be in good health.

On December 26, 2023, Indian Coast Guard officials visited Costa Serena while she was docked in Kochi, India, and delivered a plaque to the ship’s captain and crew in appreciation of their efforts to rescue the fishermen.

Costa Serena Cruise Ship
Costa Serena Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Igor Grochev / Shutterstock)

Costa Serena, a Concordia-class ship that entered service in 2007, is seasonally home-ported in Mumbai and operating a series of 23 2- to 5-day cruises to Kochi, Goa, and the Lakshadweep Islands. The 3,780-guest ship began her winter series on November 3, 2023 and will sail the route until January 11, 2024.

Read Also: Costa Cruises Details Winter Deployments

At the time of the rescue, Costa Serena was operating a 5-night sailing roundtrip from Mumbai, with calls at Kochi and Bangaram, India. The sailing will conclude on December 29, 2023, and embark that day on a 3-night New Year cruise, with one port call at Goa, India.

No Shortage of Rescues Around the Globe

Cruise ships are obligated to safeguard all life at sea and offer assistance to anyone who may be in distress, whether they are commercial fishermen, cargo vessels, pleasure craft, ferry boats, or even makeshift refugee boats.

Rescues by cruise ships in locations around the globe are not uncommon, and appear to be happening with increasing frequency.

A recent incident happened near the Dominican Republic on December 13, 2023, when Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista rescued six men whose cargo vessel had capsized. The victims were located on a life raft and rescued by the ship’s crew.

Carnival Dream Rescue
Carnival Dream Rescue

Additional victims were reported missing, and the US Coast Guard arrived on the scene to take over search and rescue efforts, allowing Carnival Vista to continue on her itinerary.

Carnival Vista was operating a 6-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida, and rescued the group as she sailed from Nassau, Bahamas, to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic.

The Costa Serena rescue wasn’t the first one involving fishermen. In November 2023, an MSC Cruises’ ship helped to rescue six fishermen from a sinking boat near Brazil’s Ilha Grande Bay.

MSC Preziosa, a Fantasia-class ship operating a 3-night cruise roundtrip from Sao Paolo, received an SOS call from the disabled ship. The cruise ship crew rescued the men, who had embarked on a deep-sea fishing trip and encountered a storm at sea. 

Six fishermen were treated by the ship’s medical personnel and transported to a nearby town, while one of the group died and was later recovered.

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